More interest from Distinguished Scholars in early event


Augustana adds November Distinguished Scholars event


Continuing with the trend of more high school students seeking college information earlier on, Augustana is adding a fall Distinguished Scholars Celebration.

The scholarship event that usually offers two programs in early spring is hosting a third program, Nov. 30.

“It’s a good move,” government professor Joel Johnson said. “We’ve been studying this for a while now, and it has become clearer that we could actually get more interest from Distinguished Scholars if we did at least one program early.”

With the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FASFA) now available to students starting in October instead of Jan. 1, students applying for the fall of 2017 have access to financial aid packages sooner.

“For students who are eager to get their financial aid award, we want to make sure we provide them an option to participate in this scholarship event early on so that we can give them as much information as possible,” Vice President for Enrollment Nancy Davidson said.

The early challenge for organizers was finding a date that allowed students enough time to be accepted into Augustana and still apply for Distinguished Scholars.

nancy-davidsonThe day will include interviews with faculty members, campus tours and a brunch that features faculty speaker Joel Johnson and student speaker Dan Schmidtman, a senior.

Remembering the pressure of committing to a college his last year of high school, Schmidtman said he believes the November date serves students trying to get ahead of the game.

“Because such a big part of that [college] decision is finances, knowing how expensive it’s going to be to attend an institution earlier on is a really good thing for students trying to be proactive, who are trying to really weigh their options financially,” Schmidtman said.

For Schmidtman, the Distinguished Scholars event sealed his decision before he knew what he was receiving for scholarships.

“It just really showed me what the advantages of a small liberal arts school are—especially one like Augustana,” Schmidtman said.

Davidson said she aims to have 200 students participate in the program over the course of the three events.

Last spring’s Distinguished Scholar events saw an increase of more than 50  students, with 237 participating in-person, over Skype, and on the phone. Davidson said it’s too early to tell if that upward trend will continue.

“I think our expectations would be that there would be more students participating overall, but it could instead also spread [students] out a little bit more over the three events,” Davidson said.

So far, 62 students are registered to participate in the fall Distinguished Scholars event, a day that Davidson said is all about recognizing students who have worked hard to achieve success in their high school careers.

“We’re excited to have just one more opportunity to celebrate great students, and we hope they all enroll,” Davidson said.

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